• Bitten by the whale watching bug Bitten by the whale watching bug We don’t realise how lucky we are in South Africa, and in particular the Western Cape, to have the mightiest of the marine mammals visit our coastline between every year ...
  • The Whale Trail The Whale Trail The Whale Trail is not a new trail, having been around since about 2002, but it has become extremely popular. It is truly a unique experience, perhaps comparable with ...
  • 10 Pamper-Perfect Spas in South Africa 10 Pamper-Perfect Spas in South Africa Combine your trip to South Africa with a relaxing, revitalising visit to a health spa and experience Africa at it's finest. Our favourite 10 Pamper-Perfect Spas in South Africa are ...
  • Locals share their favourite getaways Locals share their favourite getaways We ask 30 local South Africans to share their favourite holiday destinations and getaways with us. From the more popular destinations like Knysna and the Kruger Park to ...
  • The Oude Skip hike The Oude Skip hike The Oude Skip walk shares portions of its hike with the larger Karbonkelberg Traverse, which is roughly seven hours of hard walk from Hout Bay harbour to Llandudno ...
  • 10 Amazing Game Lodges 10 Amazing Game Lodges South Africa is world renowned for her game reserves and wildlife. The lodges which allow us to experience these in luxury are no less awe inspiring. Our favourites are ...
  • 101 Things to Do with Kids in Cape Town 101 Things to Do with Kids in Cape Town As much as your kids will tell you they can’t wait for the school holidays, the words "I’m bored" inevitably cross their lips. Our "101 things to do with kids in Cape Town" will ...
  • "World's most beautiful Cities" "World's most beautiful Cities" Open space makes Cape Town special. Renowned English sea navigator Sir Francis Drake once referred to Cape Town as the fairest cape in the world. The city houses the ...

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Tuesday, 2 June 2015

7 Jaw-Dropping False Bay Tidal Pools For Swims With A View

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For those who ask if it’s safe to swim in Cape Town’s waters, here is a list of, not only the safest spaces in which to swim, but also some of the most beautiful.

Cape Town has various ‘artificial’ tidal pools, as opposed to natural tidal pools (natural sea shore depressions that fill with tidal sea water). These pools exist because of white cement walls that retain the sea water after every high-tide.

When the tide goes out, the sun is able to heat the water, making them wonderful, protected areas in which to swim, for children and adults. Other than St James’ tidal pool many of the pools lie hidden from the coastal road in False Bay, and are not that easy to find. However the views, from each of the pools on our list, are worth seeking out.

Here is the list of 7 jaw-dropping False Bay tidal pools… Continued

Thursday, 28 May 2015

10 Far-Flung Karoo Towns For Fabulous Festivals

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If you’ve ever looked at a map of the Karoo (the Groot and Klein Karoo) you may have noticed that it occupies a huge chunk of central South Africa.

It stretches from Alexander Bay on the West Coast, encompassing the bulk of the Northern Cape, all the way to the Free State towns of Smithfield and Cookhouse on the Karoo’s eastern boundaries, whilst its southern borders are dotted with Route 62’s well-known towns from Robertson through to Uniondale.

Its towns read like a list of who’s who of the Platteland – Loeriesfontein, Van Wyksvlei, Prieska, Putsonderwater, Philippolis, Bitterfontein, Koffiefontein and Kuboes.

With so many towns to choose from, just where in the Karoo does one go? In this, the first of a series of blogs on the Karoo, we bring you 10 Far-Flung Karoo Towns For Fabulous Festivals... Continued

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

6 Favourite Second Hand Fashion Shops In The Southern Suburbs of Cape Town

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There is no accounting for taste, and what one person thinks of as worn and worthless is easily someone else’s treasure. Never more so than in the mother city where second-hand stores flourish. If you are a bargain hunter, or love vintage, Cape Town is full of ‘gently used’, ‘nearly new’ second hand goods’ stores.

The more obvious of these lie in the city bowl (Second Time Around, Glitterati) frequented by those after a more reasonably priced, vintage and retro look. But there are other, less well-known, stores in the southern suburbs.

This list of favourite second hand fashion shops is worth sharing: one or two are charity stores, whilst others are more upmarket ‘barely worn’ stores. Each of them offers something unique. At the very least, you’ll walk out with a scarf or cardigan that you could never have found anywhere else… Continued

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Drive the Seven Passes of the Garden Route

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The Cape Fold mountains that rise out of the land like the quills of a porcupine on the Garden Route, unassailable for years by farmers who toiled on farms in the Klein Karoo, are riddled with routes, many of them forged by rivers along which wagons filled with produce battled the mountains to market.

A route known as the 7 Passes explores many of these. Drive or cycle the beautiful old route; a road forged under the guidance of Thomas Bain.

Bain fashioned the road along with his brother-in-law, Adam de Smidt, amidst some acrimony, apparently (Bains started on the Knysna end, whilst de Smidt tackled the George side of things), but this doesn’t seem to have affected its beauty for the exceptional 7 Passes is now a national monument… Continued

Monday, 18 May 2015

Twee Riviere’s Belfry Kitchen – a reason to visit the Langkloof

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It’s not terribly important that you pay for your meal at the Belfry Kitchen, a lunchtime café in the little town of Twee Riviere in the Langkloof.

Things work a little differently at the Belfry (pronounced Belfree), which resides in the Old Post Office cum dealership store as you enter town, although when you first step over the threshold this isn’t immediately obvious.

On the contrary, at a glance it closely resembles a trendy boulangerie that would not look out of place in Woodstock in Cape Town, or even down some little side street in Paris… Continued

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

8 Things you’ll find in De Rust that you won’t easily find elsewhere

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The Klein Karoo town of De Rust lies on Route 62 wedged between the Swartberg and the Kammanassie Mountains.

Most people know about the Victorian village because it won Small Town of the Year in 2011. It lies just outside Oudtshoorn and serves as a ‘spillover’ space for those who attend the annual KKNK (Klein Karoo Nationale Kunsfees) and the KKK (Klein Karoo Klassique), but still value peace and quiet.

Others know about De Rust because it lies at the southern end of Meiringspoort. For a friend of mine it’s become home for a year. And she’s loving it. I visit her to find out why.

Continued

Thursday, 7 May 2015

10 Things To Do On The Prince Alfred Pass – Make A Day (Or A Holiday) Of It

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Route 339 stretches from the Karoo town of Uniondale to the Fourways intersection with the N2 just outside Knysna.

It is 80 km of gravel road connecting the Klein Karoo with the Garden Route; Knysna with the Langkloof. It serves as an appealing alternative to the Outeniqua Pass between George and Oudtshoorn.

Which does nothing to describe its beauty – the glorious views of early morning mist, proteas, heather and ericas on either side of the road, forests in which elephants are easily lost, and kloofs, valleys and mountains that appear to go on forever.

However, for all its beauty Prince Alfred Pass is not a short cut, neither is it for the faint hearted… Continued

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Puntjie – A Hideaway Lost In Time; Visit This Unintentional Open-Air Museum

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Where the Duiwenhoks River meets the sea is a cliffside hideaway known as Puntjie. It stands to the east of the river mouth atop eroded sandstone cliffs, known only to those who stay here.

During sultry summer days it is a piece of heaven, the long stretch of deserted beach a haven for walking, the cliffs a gentle, idyllic space in which time stands still. Holidays here are exactly as they should be – far from everything, amongst friends.

It takes little to imagine the wind-driven rain that must whip these exposed cliffs during winter. At Puntjie three ocean currents meet – the Agulhas, the Mozambique and Benguela. As a result, winters produce sodden wet, grey days, and often the Duiwenhoks floods… Continued

Thursday, 30 April 2015

10 Short Beginner Hikes In Cape Town – Perfect For The (Relatively) Unfit, Or Those With Children

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Most of the hikes in Cape Town involve scaling a mountain (if you hadn’t already noticed, there are a fair number in the city).

If Tranquillity Cracks, Platteklip Gorge, Maclear’s Beacon and India Venster are not on your list of must-do hikes, then this list of ‘sedate’ trails, even if one or two involve a short (though not overly taxing) uphill, is for you.

Some of the 10 beginner hikes in Cape Town are perfect for children. Most of them, because of their ease, are popular and busy, particularly on hot summer, windless days… Continued

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

15 Things You Probably Don’t Know About Cape Town

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Here are a few fascinating things you probably don’t know about Cape Town

1. Cape Town is the best place in the world to visit

According to the New York Times (2014). The Telegraph Travel Awards voted Cape Town the ‘best city in the world’ in 2013; it is one of the top 25 destination in the world, according to Tripadvisor Travelers’ Choice Awards; and Africa dot com voted Cape Town the most liveable city in Africa. Continued

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

The Slow Life –7 Detours On The N2 Between George And Knysna

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One of the most exceptional parts of the coast in the Western Cape, the area between George and Knysna is riddled with appealing seaside villages, beaches, delightful finds and magnificent scenery.

Too often, though, we merely use the N2 as a means to our destination.

Next time you’re passing this way, make the time to slow down, savour the beauty and charm of the heart of the Garden Route, and take at least one of 7 detours on the N2 between George and Knysna… Continued

Friday, 17 April 2015

5 Insider Things To Do When In Vermaaklikheid

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The fairytale hamlet of Vermaaklikheid lies on the lower reaches of the Duiwenhoks River, south of Heidelberg.

To find it on Google maps we have to do a precise search, for it appears only as a map marker two-thirds of the way up the river, on a dirt road east of the R322 between Heidelberg and Witsand.

It isn’t on any tourist routes, and has little to lure the Toyota Fortuners and their ilk – no farmstall or artisan bread-and-pie-producing bakery here.

Vermaaklikheid (meaning ‘entertainment’ or ‘amusement’ – which may or may not allude to the town’s original subsistence on sweet potatoes and ‘witblits’) is a smattering of thatched, white-walled Cape-style cottages (a couple of which are for sale), a shop (which always seems to be closed), newly planted olive groves, and a not-recently-in-use trading post. Continued

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

7 Cape Town Community Gardens That Are Setting A Trend

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A community garden is a piece of land gardened collectively by a group of people. They serve as a way to build a sense of local community, a connection to the environment and to provide fresh produce and plants. They range from small plots of vegetables, to large ‘greening’ projects to preserve natural areas. And not all of them have an open gate policy. Some grow only ornamental plants, others function as market gardens.

In Cape Town Community gardens have been a rising trend for a while now. Whether they’re tiny backyard plots, a portion of a city park, rooftop gardens, vertical gardens or ornamental gardening along a river bank, urban community gardening is on the rise.

Here is a list of 7 community gardens in Cape TownContinued

Thursday, 9 April 2015

South Africa’s 8 Most Beautiful Vleis and Marshes

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Over half of South Africa’s marshes and vleis have disappeared. Most of them reclaimed for industry and the construction of airports, harbours, and sewage treatment plants. In KwaZulu Natal alone 58% of the wetlands of the Mfolozi River catchment have vanished owing to siltation and overgrazing.

Wetlands are historically regarded as ‘unhealthy’, even dangerous, because of their association with malaria, dampness and disease. They vary greatly in size and location. But broadly speaking wetlands – of which vleis, marshes, bogs, and swamps are examples – are likened to kidneys in the human body; they play a vital role in purifying water, regulating water flow, storing water to release it slowly, and easing the effect of droughts and floods. Continued

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

8 Glorious Gardens That Just Happen To Be On Wine Estates

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To explore a garden before, or after, tasting the wine grown on the farm is one of the highlights of these 8 glorious gardens on wine estates… Continued